Feb. 22, 2007
#20/20 Florida State at NFCA Leadoff Classic
Fri.-Sun., Feb. 23-25 Columbus, Ga.
South Commons Stadium and Complex
Friday, February 23:
#21 Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. Listen Live Game Tracker
Mississippi State, 5 p.m. Game Tracker
Sunday, February 25
Bracket Play, TBA Listen Live
First Pitch (What You Need To Know):
Florida State continues its week on the road this weekend when it travels to Columbus, Ga., for the 12th Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic, February 23-25.
The Seminoles will face their first ranked opponent of the year when they take on No. 21 Nebraska on the first day of the tournament. Last year FSU was 9-13 against ranked teams, but won seven of the nine during the last half of the season.
For the second weekend in a row, a Florida State pitcher tossed a no hitter as sophomore Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) blanked Memphis, 8-0, in the Sunshine State Tournament. It was the first no hitter of her collegiate career.
Melissa May was one of three Seminoles on the Sunshine State All-Tournament team as she was joined by outfielder LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) and designated player/catcher Brittany Krbec (Orlando, Fla.)
FSU moved up to No. 20 in the latest USA Softball/ESPN.com and USA Today/NFCA polls , marking its highest ranking since holding the same ranking on March 2, 2005.
FSU Softball On The Road At 12th Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic
If it’s late February it can only mean one thing for the Florida State softball team: A trip a few hours north to Columbus, Ga., for the 12th Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic. The No. 20 Seminoles (8-1 overall) continue their weekend on the road when they open tournament play Friday at 2:30 p.m. versus No. 21 Nebraska, followed immediately with a 5 p.m. game against Mississippi State. FSU rounds out pool play on Saturday against Tennessee Tech (10:30 a.m.) and Seton Hall (1 p.m.) with bracket action happening on Sunday. The Nebraska game and Sunday’s contests can be heard through streaming audio by logging on to www.seminoles.com.
Seminoles Have Tough Road Ahead At NFCA
Every year the NFCA Leadoff Classic brings in some of the best teams in the country and 2007 is no exception. Florida State is in one of the stronger brackets as four of the five teams were in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Florida State and Nebraska (4-3) are both ranked while Tennessee Tech (4-5) and Seton Hall (0-6) won their conferences last year. Mississippi State (8-3) missed its first NCAA Tournament last year since 2003 but already has a win over Cal this year. Seventeen of the 20 teams in the Classic made the NCAA Tournament last year and six are currently ranked in the top 25: Michigan (13), Baylor (16), Georgia (18), Florida (19), Florida State (20 and Nebraska (21) with five more teams receiving votes.
FSU Looks To Relive Recent Past In Columbus
This weekend will be Florida State’s tenth appearances in the 12 years that they’ve been holding the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The only two seasons FSU missed were 2001 and 2002. Overall the Seminoles have a 17-22 record at the Classic, but are 10-5 over the last four seasons, including the 2004 campaign when they lost 4-3 to LSU in the title game. Last year’s tournament was rained out after the first day with FSU dropping its only two games to No. 14/16 Louisiana-Lafayette, 14-0, and No. 2 Tennessee, 2-0. This weekend will be the second time FSU has played Nebraska and Mississippi State at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Seminoles dropped a 4-0 decision to the Bulldogs during the 2000 Classic and a 1-0 contest the year before to the Cornhuskers.
FSU Shares Title At Sunshine State Tournament
When the level of play was stepped up a notch, the Seminoles responded as they went 3-1 last weekend during the Sunshine State Tournament. The only blemish on the weekend was a 1-0 loss to Kansas and Player of the Year candidate pitcher Kassie Humphreys. The Jayhawks’ only run came in the seventh inning as FSU’s Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) hung with Humphreys by striking out a season-high 14 batters. The Seminoles opened the tournament with a 10-2 win over Jacksonville in five innings then bounced back from the Kansas loss with an 8-3 victory versus South Carolina and an 8-0 triumph over Memphis in six innings.
May Produces First No Hitter Versus Memphis
A little bit of confidence has gone a long way for sophomore Melissa May. In her first game back from mononucleoses last year, the left-hander threw a two-hit shutout of No. 8 Georgia to get FSU into the Super Regional. In her second start of the year May threw the first no-hitter of her collegiate career as she shut down Memphis, 8-0, on Saturday. During her six-inning masterpiece, May only faced one batter over the minimum as she was helped out by a pair of double plays, including one she started herself to end the sixth inning. May struck out three batters and only issued one free pass.
May’s no hitter comes on the heels of one by Tiffany McDonald on February 9 and the two no hitters in the span of eight days is the shortest time between no hitters since the 2004 season when All-Americans Jessica van der Linden and Casey Hunter threw no hitters on the same day against Penn State and Rhode Island. That year the Seminole pitching staff amassed eight no hitters
Runs Coming In Bunches
Usually hitting is one of the last things to come around at the start of the year, but Florida State’s offense has been nothing short of spectacular through the first two weeks of the season. The Seminoles have been an offensive juggernaut, scoring 7.22 runs per game and hitting .356 to rank second in the ACC in both categories. Half of FSU’s eight wins have been by run rule and the Seminoles have topped ten runs three time this season. Last season Florida State didn’t reach double digits for the third time until the second weekend in March and its fourth mercy rule victory didn’t come until later that month. The school record for runs per game is 5.29 during the 1986 season. Last year the Seminoles averaged 4.24 on their way to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Davis Continues To Quietly Make Noise At The Plate
Consistency often goes unnoticed because it is there all the time and senior LaShaun Davis is often left out of the limelight because all she does is get hits. Last week the right fielder went 6-for-15 (.400) to earn a spot on the Sunshine State All-Tournament Team and up her average to .391 for the year. Against South Carolina she belted her first home run since May 6, 2005, when she hit a three-run shot at BYU. Currently she ranks among the ACC leaders in five categories, including doubles where she is third with four two-baggers as well as the No. 4 spot with 11 RBIs.
Outfield = Offense
With only one returning starter, the were several questions surrounding the outfield, but the group has stepped up to lead the way offensively. As group, the five starters are hitting .346 with 20 runs and 17 RBIs, which is nearly a third of FSU’s total. Junior Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is in the ACC top ten for three categories, including the fifth spot with five stolen bases. Buckmon has a trio of multi-hit games, including the Jacksonville and Memphis contests where she went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
A freshman and a senior transfer has combined to make the catcher/designated player the most productive spots on the team. A three-year infielder starter at Troy Brittany Krbec (Orlando, Fla.) and rookie Robin Ahrberg (Stillwater, Okla.) and are both on the ACC hitting charts with Krbec sitting fifth with her .458 average followed closely by Ahrberg at .435. Krbec is tied for the ACC lead at 0.50 doubles per game and is in the top 10 for five different categories, while Ahrberg rates in three, holding the No. 5 spot for RBIs (1.11) and on-base percentage (.536).
Wootson Continues Ascension Up ACC And FSU Charts
A triple versus Jacksonville moved Player of the Year Candidate Veronica Wootson – the ACC leader in runs scored – up one spot on the ACC charts to number seven at 20, tying her with UNC’s Crystal Henderson, and putting her four short of the NCAA All-Time Top 25. One more triple will tie her with Tiffany Daniels for No. 2 in school history. Two more runs scored will move the two-time All-American past Jessica van der Linden and Kristy Hull for fifth on the FSU chart and sixth in the ACC annuals.
Regardless Of Tallahassee Address, Langston Can Hit
Even though she’s relocated a few miles east from Tallahassee CC to Florida State, Kelly Langston (Sopchoppy, Fla.) has continued her strong performance at the plate. After going 3-for-8 during her last three games, the first baseman has moved to the top of the FSU charts with a .500 batting average. Against Memphis she turned in a 2-for-3 evening, including an RBI double for her first multi-base hit.
Gober Making Similar Run Toward Freshman Honors As McDonald
Through her first three starts, freshman Terese Gober’s (McDonough, Ga.) career is mirroring that of Tiffany McDonald, who won the 2005 ACC Freshman of the Year award. With the 8-3 win over South Carolina, Gober was the first FSU pitcher to reach three victories, which ranks her third in the league. The right-hander has a 1.21 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17.1 innings of work, compared to McDonald’s rookie campaign where she had a 0.81 ERA and 19 strikeouts, but in 26 innings.
Seminoles Flashing The Leather
Hitting and pitching haven’t been the only areas Florida State has improved on through the first two weeks of the season. The Seminoles defense – which ranked last in the ACC in 2004 – has made big strides through the first two weeks of `07. Last year at this point, FSU had a .943 fielding percentage, only turned one double play and didn’t have an outfield assist. So far this season, the Seminoles have improved their fielding percentage to .965 – putting it fifth in the ACC – but have turned seven double plays, which is a quarter of last year’s double play total, with a trio of outfield assists.
News and Notes:
Tuesday’s doubleheader with Troy was postponed due to inclement weather and has been rescheduled for May 2 … Third baseman Michelle Snyder collected the first stolen base of her collegiate career against Memphis as she stole home as part of a double steal with Veronica Wootson … Friday’s 1-0 loss was the second time in Tiffany McDonald’s career that she struck out 12 or more batters and lost. Last season she lost a 2-0 decision to NC State despite a career-best 19 strikeouts. McDonald has a career record of 15-5 when she strikeouts 8-10 batters, but is 1-2 with 12 or more … The 14 Ks versus the Jayhawks moved McDonald up to eighth in school history with 494 strikeouts and she needs eight to pass Kristy Fuentes for seventh … Tuesday’s rainout gives the Seminoles fives days of rest in between games. Last season when it had five days off Florida State had a record of 5-1 on the next day with the lone loss coming at No. 7 Arizona State in the Super Regional. With four days in between the Seminoles were 10-4.